Smithfield Markets and Prince Henry’s Room under threat

I have just received the latest e-newsletter from the Society of Antiquaries of London and am dismayed to read of the losses to our cultural heritage that are being threatened by so-called progress. I am doing a cut and paste job directly from the e-newsletter here and I do hope those of you in the UK can spread the word and get active in your defence of the Smithfield Markets and Prince Henry’s Room.

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Smithfield Markets under threat

“As many Salon readers are surely aware, SAVE Britain’s Heritage thought it had achieved an important victory when consent to demolish the General Market, Fish Market and Red House at London’s Smithfield Market was turned down after a planning inquiry in 2008. Communities Secretary Hazel Blears stated at the time that these buildings made a significant contribution to the character and appearance of Farringdon and the surrounding area. Our Fellow Adam Wilkinson, who led the four-year ‘don’t butcher Smithfield’ campaign for SAVE, looked forward to these characterful buildings playing a central role in a Covent Garden-style revival of Smithfield. Imagine SAVE’s distress then when the new plans that emerged for the site in October 2012 proved to be just as potentially destructive of the existing structures as the rejected plans.

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The new plans involve what Clem Cecil of SAVE calls a ‘scoop-out job’; that is to say, retaining the three facades that line the edges of the site, but demolishing all the buildings behind (shown in red above) to create what the architects describe as ‘low-rise pavilions’ to accommodate new office space.

Architecture critic Oliver Wainwright says the new scheme (see above) ‘will leave only a flimsy skin of heritage, a picturesque skirt of Victoriana around the base of yet another slab of generic commercial development’.

SAVE has put out an appeal to everyone who cares about these buildings and wants to see them preserved to write ‘a strong note of objection to the Corporation of London, addressed to planning officer Gemma Delves, quoting planning application numbers 13/00150/FULEIA, 13/00155/LBC and 13/00156/CAC’.

The main grounds for objection are that the proposal entails the loss of a major landmark building, including its splendid market halls and roofs; will cause substantial harm to the Smithfield conservation area and surrounding conservation areas, as well as to the adjacent Grade II* listed Meat Market and Grade II listed Poultry Market; that important views will be lost, including those from the Holborn Viaduct; that the buildings have never been market tested (as recommended by the Planning Inspector’s Report following the Public Inquiry in 2008) to estbalish that they are needed; that there is an alternative conservation-led scheme for the site backed up by a viable business plan; that there is no convincing justification for demolition (the National Planning Framework paragraph 132 says that ‘Heritage assets are irreplaceable, any harm or loss should require convincing justification); and that the condition of the buildings, which have been deliberately neglected, is not a justification for demolition (‘Where there is evidence of deliberate neglect of or damage to a heritage asset the deteriorated state of the heritage asset should not be taken into account in any decision’: National Planning Framework paragraph 132).

Our Fellow Marcus Binney, President of SAVE, says that in his view ‘this will be the worst mutilation of Victorian buildings in thirty years’. For further information and images, see SAVE’s website and its Facebook page.

Prince Henry’s Room

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Our Fellows Paula Henderson and Claire Gapper write to say that: ‘The small half-timber gateway to Inner Temple at 17 Fleet Street is a remarkable survival of the Great Fire of 1666. The room on the first floor is known as Prince Henry’s Room because of the Prince of Wales feathers and the initials “P H” featured in its exceptionally fine plasterwork ceiling. The building certainly dates to the early years of the seventeenth century. In 1969 the care of Prince Henry’s Room was transferred from the Greater London Council to the Corporation of London, which opened it to the public. An exhibition on Samuel Pepys was installed; Pepys was born not far away and spent many happy hours “drinking and singing” in the room, when it was known as the Fountain Tavern.

‘In December 2012, the Corporation’s Culture Heritage and Libraries Committee declared the room “surplus” and transferred its care to its Property Investment Group, which is actively seeking a tenant. In recent correspondence to us they wrote that the room is no longer available for cultural purposes and that they do not have the financial resources to facilitate visits. Surely whatever rent they could get for this small room could not possibly be as important as the good will that is engendered by making it accessible to those who wish to see an all-too-rare relic of early Stuart life amidst a sea of commercial development.

‘Along with other interested parties (including the Samuel Pepys Club, who paid for the restoration of the room and who have used it for recitals, readings and other events related to seventeenth-century London), we are hoping to convince the Corporation that this room should be made available to interested, scholarly groups at least on an occasional basis. If any Fellows have suggestions or would like to join our campaign, please let us know.’”

The copy in this post is taken directly from the e-newsletter of the Society of Antiquaries of London, Salon (issue 298, 13 May 2013) and has been shared by the author of this blog in the interest of saving the cultural heritage of the UK for the enjoyment and pleasure of future generations of Anglophiles like herself.

What do serious academics do when they can’t get the word flow happening?

Why they play with the effects in the Photo Booth thingy on their laptop, that’s what!

Lisa swims with the fishes

Lisa swims with the fishes

Lisa visits the Eiffel Tower. Ooh la la!

Lisa visits the Eiffel Tower. Ooh la la!

Lisa Warhols herself

Lisa Warhols herself

Lisa's distorted face reflects her distorted mind?

Lisa’s distorted face reflects her distorted mind?

Away with the fairies, or representative of her angelic disposition? Hmm?

Away with the fairies, or representative of her angelic disposition? Hmm?

In the end, I’m just a plodding historian sitting in the public library searching for the inspiration and enthusiasm needed to get the blasted Magnificent Octopus finished. Actually, right now, I would just settle for enough inspiration and enthusiasm to spit out what is left of my chapter 3 rewrite. It was not a re-draft or edit. Nope. It was out with the old draft and in with something completely new. Sigh. And it is just as tedious to write the second time around! And taking just as long!

Will she ever get this thesis finished?

Searching for inspiration. And enthusiasm.

Searching for inspiration. And enthusiasm.

 

 

Article for Jesse

Hi Jesse. Sorry I didn’t have as many articles as I thought I might. This one is all about the ‘Blitz Spirit’ I tweeted you about, so might be perfect for your assignment. I have included the cover of the magazine so you can reference the article properly if you use it.

2010 Oct BHM Going Underground

I have included this other article just for interest. I sent it to my nephews as, being boys, they enjoy anything that might be ‘gross’.

2012mar BHM Smelly Tudors

Taking the Art of Procrastination to a Whole New Level

As many of you are already aware, I am something of a procrastinator. Today, as the title of this bloggy post suggests, I went further than I have ever gone before to avoid undertaking work on the thesis.

The day started with good intentions. I made some lunch, packed the necessities needed for a day of productivity at the library and even got the stuff into my Little White Holden Nova. My Honorary Niece Madison gave me two SFFs (strawberry Freddo Frogs) to take with me. I got into my LWHN. I started my LWHN, pulled out of the driveway and began the long journey from Glen Forrest to UWA.

I stopped at Maylands IGA for Masters Choc Milk, ENOs and a packet of “lush” Blue Aeroplane Jelly Crystals to send my nephew Jackson in Newcastle (UK not NSW) for his birthday. I got back into the car and continued my journey to uni.

I got to uni.

I drove around the car park twice and I even parked the car.

I sat in the car for about two minutes, the engine still running. Then I backed out of the car bay and took off back home via the scenic route by the river.

As I went through the city centre, I realised I had my camera and I could take a photo of the site that was once the home of the Perth Entertainment Centre for my friend Jenny-Anne.

Site of the old Perth Entertainment Centre that was...

...and the Perth Entertainment Centre as was.

This started what quickly became known as ‘Drive By Shoot of Perth’, for after capturing the image of the site of the Perth Entertainment Centre that was, I spotted a weird looking green thing at the entrance to the Forrest Place Mall and thought that would make a nice drive by photo. (And, well, you know, anything was better than coming to my senses and returning to uni and getting on with chapter 6!)

Leftovers from construction of a slippery slide? Alien artefact? Art?

The amcom building you can see in the background used to be the St Martin’s Tower and my Dad worked there. My sisters and I would ‘keep Daddy company’ when he went into work on the weekends, so we could play “offices”. It was fun playing with a photocopier then. If only I knew then how much I would come to hate those machines, the plague of my working life! And more memories here as in 1999, as I was wandering about the city centre avoiding doing any study during my undergrad years, I came across my Musical Goddess Kate Ceberano in Forrest Place Mall doing some singing to promote her True Romantic: Best Of album, being sprung by my friend Ariel, or Shirley as she was then, who was also in the city avoiding doing any study and spotted me bopping to Kate at the back of the crowd. Meeeemooooories…

And so the drive by photo shoot continued until my Little White Holden Nova was back in her little cubby hole, next to Dad’s Man Shed, a mere 2 hours and some minutes after we left!

The following are a sample of some of the photos I took, photos of sites that have great meaning to me. I might have to stop for a moment, collect myself and get some tissues because we are about to embark on a sentimental journey. Cue the song!

A Sentimental Journey from Perth to Glen Forrest with Lisa Elliott, Queen Procrastinator and Drive By Photographer

Lisa the Drive By Shooter spots another site of interest

The Brisbane Hotel where I once spent an uncomfortable evening watching my bro and my cousin hitting on girls. At least I had yummy nibbles and gin to take away the pain.

Highgate Tower: The subject of a photo shoot that could have sparked a career, but I could not be arsed doing it. Story of my life.

The carwash where the Little White Holden Nova gets spruced up

My Masters Choc Milk Supplier

The Sexy Salmon Seller of Guildford

The Caltex where I get my petrol every Wednesday, unless I have a petrol voucher for IGA in which case I'll defect to the Gull on Guildford Road to save 4c a litre.

The Bilgoman Pool where I did 10 laps of the 50m pool the other week. Yes, it was just that once. That was enough. Me and exercise just don't jell.

Home Sweet Home less than 3 hours after we left it.

And yes, those are rain clouds you can see in my photos. Nothing to get excited about. It was more dribble clouds. The rain certainly wasn’t heavy enough to clean the bird poo off the roof of my Little White Holden Nova.

Well, I think that is enough procrastinating on WordPress for one day. I think it is time to move my procrastinating self to my bedroom where I intend to watch a few episodes of season 5 of House before a little snooze in which I shall dream myself into a state of productivity for tomorrow.

It’s been emotional.